SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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shahab03
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Posts: 6
Joined: July 20th, 2008, 6:43 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 1:21 am

I am 34 and work in IT. Some programming and some data mining/ warehousing. Planning to apply to quant progams for fall 2010.I think by the time I graduate from any quant program I will be around 36/37. Just wondering if age is a problem when one goes around looking for jobs?thanks
 
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quantmeh
Posts: 5974
Joined: April 6th, 2007, 1:39 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 2:34 am

you know the answer. dont you?
 
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KackToodles
Posts: 4100
Joined: August 28th, 2005, 10:46 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 7:11 am

it's a serious problem for MS/MFE types. Less of a problem if you have a phd. So spend a couple more years and pick up phd.
 
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phil451
Posts: 83
Joined: December 7th, 2007, 8:21 am

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 7:26 am

20 years ago, people wouldn't apply for a job because they would think that i'm the wrong colour and so i haven't got a chance. 30 years people wouldn't apply for a job because they didn't go to a public school (ie the wrong class, i'm talking from a UK perspective).Ageism is just another prejudice and to start writing yourself off before your 40 is rather depressing. If there was a major conflict tomorrow and conscription was re-introduced you can bet your life the authorities would be happy enough to send you off to take a bullet.Admittedly, IBs aren't the most enlightened employers in the world but there was a time when you wouldn't see a woman or a non-white face in a bank in London and that wasn't that long ago.If you want to do this, you should do it because you will only regret it, if you don't
 
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DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 12:13 pm

I agree with phil451 about most of what he says, but not the "enlightended" bit. As a headhunter who had 15 years hanging out in banks I think I have a broad enough view to speak with some authority here.A while back a manager made some comments about candidate which not only were "racially offensive" but implied they of a type of person so evil that right thinking men would band together and not only kill this candidate but destroy the house they lived in.He then asked me if I could persuade them to accept a big pile of cash to work for him, and in this context I mean "big" relative to normal banking money for that grade.He did not offer the money out of some dumb politically correcty fake "respect" for their culture, he did it to make himself richer and more powerful in his large bank (which still exists That illustrates the "hidden hand" of markets, people are often placed in a situation where they get a choice of indulging various "preferences" towards certain groups, or making more money.Most choose money.Money is honest, it does not care about your God, your age, which side of which war your dad was on, where you were born and who you slept with last night.,I've worked in a variety of contexts, and will share that banking is about the least bigoted of any line of work I've encontered. Not saying it makes it all the way to good, just that most everything else is worse.Look at the leadership of most left wing parties, count the coloured faces, you don't need to get past your fingers. There were more coloured people in the final Apartheid cabine in S.Africa than in the current Labour one.The only person I've even know for a fact to be sacked for being black was a civil servant.The media is nakedly racist and ageist, as are other lines of work where there is poor clarity of the quality of your work, and where social factors / opinion dominate.Express the wrong political viewpoint in many media firms and literally no one will speak to you, and I saw more sexual harassment in my mad year as journalist than ten times as long in banking.British Unions are fascist groups with good PR. I'm ethnically Irish, and its not that long ago that this would have meant that I could not have worked at many firms which had the "closed shop", which included a good % of newspaper jobs."No blacks or Irish" They are now campaiging against Italians being allowed to work in Britain (yes, it makes fascist tag quite ironic, doesn't it)Announce you are gay in many manufacturing firms and frankly you will not enjoy it.I joined the City at a time when the "Chaps" were about to be trashed big time. Entertainingly enough my accent (some compare it unfavourably to Hugh Grant), and ability to polish shoes to military standards made many think I was one of them.There is sexism, as a pimp I get to hear some pretty grim details, but again objectively as a pimp I will tell you that I can sell more easily a woman of a given quality than a man. The problem is that the number of good women is depressingly small, so small that I can't really say whether they are better or worse on average than men.
 
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MikeJuniperhill
Posts: 57
Joined: February 7th, 2004, 11:57 am

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 2:34 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: shahab03I am 34 and work in IT. Some programming and some data mining/ warehousing. Planning to apply to quant progams for fall 2010. I think by the time I graduate from any quant program I will be around 36/37. Just wondering if age is a problem when one goes around looking for jobs?thanksSometimes I feel a bit amused to see, especially at this particular forum, how insecure some people really are. For a certain point I understand this, but.. Seems that everybody want to have sort of a general acceptance for whatever they want to do in their own life. You always read, how people are asking "should I do this or that..", or "is it now guaranteed that if I do this then I'll get that..", or "should I after all get this degree over that degree..". Nobody knows, really. There are some realities in this world of course: I can never be the president of the USA, that's for sure because I come from Europe. Surely, there are age racism at some places. But I would say that if you really can show, that you have mastered certain issues truly well enough, then you have those skills you can sell for somebody and it is then sure that you'll get that job. There is a probability distribution concerning your chances to get that job, and as far as I know, there are tails in that distribution. I would also say, that if you are truly interested about these issues, if you feel excited about these things, then you simply don't have any choice, you have to follow that path and to do that. it's so simple. After you make that choice, start working like it would be the last day on this earth and stop worrying about the future too much.. To quote John Connor at Terminator2: "The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.." mike
Last edited by MikeJuniperhill on May 13th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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shahab03
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Posts: 6
Joined: July 20th, 2008, 6:43 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 2:43 pm

Mike, thanks so much. You have made my day. By the I am not insecure. But just checking if the current is against me.
 
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quantmeh
Posts: 5974
Joined: April 6th, 2007, 1:39 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 3:01 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: shahab03But just checking if the current is against me.the current is certainly against you
 
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twofish
Posts: 4944
Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 3:41 pm

I don't think it makes a big difference if you market yourself correctly. I got in at 37. One thing that concerns me a bit, is that I think you'll have an easier time getting in to banking if you market yourself as an experienced data mining/warehousing guru rather than an inexperienced quant. On the other hand, you'll find that your job in banking is more or less what you were doing before, which may or may not be what you want.
 
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quantmeh
Posts: 5974
Joined: April 6th, 2007, 1:39 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 3:44 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: twofishOn the other hand, you'll find that your job in banking is more or less what you were doing before, which may or may not be what you want.and once you got in as "non-quant" you'll be stuck in that role for the rest of your life. this is the base scenario.
 
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twofish
Posts: 4944
Joined: February 18th, 2005, 6:51 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 4:02 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: MikeJuniperhillSometimes I feel a bit amused to see, especially at this particular forum, how insecure some people really are.Having been through something similar, I can sympathize. When I started hitting the mid-30's, I started feeling the walls closing in on my in ways that I didn't feel when I was in my 20's. You start looking at what you are doing, and you run into the very depressing thought that things won't get any better. Part of the problem was that I was hitting the glass ceiling, and by moving into finance, I got myself somewhere where the glass ceiling is a lot, lot higher.A lot depends on what you want. If I was interested in maximizing expected return of money and power, it would have been better for me to have gotten an MBA or gone into project management. I didn't because that isn't what I was after.
 
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riskguru
Posts: 79
Joined: August 11th, 2004, 4:24 pm

is age a problem??

May 14th, 2009, 4:15 pm

In my experience there are two separate issues, first will people be willing to hire me and second will I be able to cope. From personal experience, I had no trouble moving into an investment bank at the ripe old age 37 (after retooling myself). The harder part was getting the balance right while working with colleagues who were in their early to mid 20s and a boss who was barely 30. Making sure that I did not implicitly make age an issue took some discipline on my part as well and there were times that I had to resist the urge to tell some of the snotty kids off! Must have done something right as I have been at it for well over a decade now. Still having to deal with colleagues who are much younger but at least I am my own boss (for the most part ).
 
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DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

is age a problem??

May 15th, 2009, 1:34 pm

Although I respect jawabeans' points, I always seem to find myself disagreeing with him.So what if the current is against you ?We're all fighting entropy, and it will win. trust me on this.Yes, there is ageism, so what ?Fact is this morning you are 24 hours closer to death. The question is not whether ageism, racism, or sexism or fattism exists in your target, but is it better where you are, or in other targets within reach ?IT is not much better in its attitude to age.At the CQF info session last night I was talking to someone in a vaguely similar position to shahab03 (except he was joining a program with a headhunter on the faculty I'm big on using quant finance techniques on for modeling the decisions you make in careers.For some, an MFE or CQF is a digital option, ie it achieves a transition from one state to another with some given probability, and your task is to optimise your decision set with respect to getting across.If you've done chemical thermodynamics, then you will recoginse this as activation energy. Lots of ions in your solution with a low energy will not react, but a smaller number with higher energy will.Some use education to bias the distribution, and it is a fact that "merely" doing your job well is rather like increasing the concentration of a reagent in your solution, but not the energy.However for IT people the step function is a smaller component of their set of outcomes than for other backgrounds.An IT person in a bank who knows more about the business is more valuable every time he learns something.It you are seeking to move from a totally different business (or straight from education) then you either make the jump or not.Now the area of utility under the curve is different, but an investment in financial education is less risky for an IT person than most others.That dfoes not mean it is not tough and riskguru makes some good points on this.Also you need to upgrade and repair your maths.Often for people in your position I recommend Stefanica's Primer on financial math. it will teach you some things, possibly the most important thing you will discover whether your maths are good enough, since if you struggle with this book you probably will not make it in this line of work.Also, you will need to get your C++ up to speed.Have you looked at the CQF ? www.cqf.com
 
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cryptic26
Posts: 971
Joined: February 18th, 2002, 9:39 am

is age a problem??

May 15th, 2009, 2:03 pm

Well, you can make all the right decisions and still end up in a wrong place. You can make all the wrong decisions and still end up in right place.Judgment is what people in finance are suppose to get paid for but no one beats randomness. Let that be in stock market or in your personal life. There are Friday evenings and weekends that I don't realize what value, if at all any am I adding to the society. But I often remember one saying by a prof, "thank goodness you guys chose to study finance than choosing terrorism. Imagine the havoc it would have caused". I feel good that I am not the worst.Just do what you can do the best in a realistic way.
Last edited by cryptic26 on May 14th, 2009, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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